8th August 2016 – Residents are being asked how they would run some of Croydon’s 127 parks, following new proposals which were discussed earlier this year.
A new survey of Croydon’s park users has been launched to bring the council’s ambitious plans a step closer for improving the borough’s green spaces.
Entitled ‘Croydon Talks Parks’, the survey aims to find the main reasons why people value parks and what they want to see improved.
The current system, where maintenance is outsourced and then overseen by a small team of council officers, is unsustainable due to cuts in Government funding, according a report published in March, which followed similar suggestions for the future of Croydon’s libraries.
It is thought that the move will give residents the chance to paint a detailed picture of how they use parks and what changes they would like to see made in how they are managed and run.
A document on the survey goes further pledging that the council do not intent to shut or sell off any of the parks.
It states: “Our ideas for the future do not include closing and selling parks. We have some great parks in Croydon, and we want your input to help them reach their full potential.
“Although the council faces financial challenges, the ultimate aim is to take on board your thoughts and ideas on how we should develop and sustainably manage our parks and open spaces in the future.”
Questions cover issues such as community events and festivals, sports facilities, nature conservation and volunteering.
Responses will be analysed and built into the council’s Ambitious For Parks programme, which is looking at a wide range of options for the future of Croydon’s green public spaces.
Speaking ahead of the launch of the survey Councillor Timothy Godfrey, who is the cabinet member for culture, leisure and sport, explained that the council was looking to invite responses from individuals, groups and businesses.
He said: “This is the next phase in our manifesto commitment to securing our valuable parks for generations to come. We are determined to maintain standards and bring about real improvements despite the financial challenges we are faced with right now.
“That’s why we’re looking for sustainable ways to fund investment alongside opportunities for getting local people more involved.”
But a report published by the Croydon Advertiser in March highlighted an essential part of the changes which the council called “community stewardship”.
Speaking on March 25 and when asked whether residents might be asked to take over basic park maintenance, such as cutting the grass, Cllr Godfrey said: “I doubt it, but this has to be resident driven. The council has to reach a position where it can see how much it is really spending [on each park] and ask residents what they can do with a proportion of that instead.”
A “mixed model” approach was suggested, where the council would run some parks while residents manage others.
People have until October 31 to contribute their ideas and the results will be published by the end of the year.
To complete the survey visit www.croydon.gov.uk/talkparks.
"Although the council faces financial challenges, the ultimate aim is to take on board your thoughts and ideas on how we should develop and sustainably manage our parks and open spaces in the future."